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Fall is Here–Is Your Closet Ready?

I’ve got the urge, the urge to purge…someone’s closet!

Closets are some of the best places to start decluttering.  They’re small and contained (well, for the most part–I have seen some closets that were about to explode from clothing and accessory overload!) and once you declutter and organize your closet, you see immediate results.  A tidy, neat closet filled only with the clothes you love and wear and probably a stack of boxes and bags ready to take to the nearest thrift store!

Everyone and I mean everyone (including yours truly) has items in his/her closet that are going unworn, season after season.  Whether you rotate your spring/summer clothes out for fall/winter or have all four seasons in one space, there are always items that can be purged.

Did you know that the average woman only wears about 20% of her wardrobe? As usual, I offer you a very visual tip if you’d like to see exactly what you’re actually wearing:

When you wear an item and return it to your closet, simply turn the hanger backwards.

Boom. A great visual cue as to what is getting worn on a regular basis.

Hey–I am not judging. Life changes. Jobs change. Our weight fluctuates. We have to keep a couple of formal gowns around for the random ball or gala or whatever. I’m not saying run right up and bag up your closet.

However…switching over your seasonal wardrobe is a great opportunity to purge.  YOU know what you wore this summer.  You know what got heavy rotation, what you love, what you hate.  Jeans that are too tight, that pair is too low cut for your 45-year-old self. Which blouse’s neckline annoys you, which shoes gave you blisters. What trend just did not suit you (hello, overalls–great in 1994, not so great in 2019).

While you’re getting ready to switch over to sweaters, scarves, boots and outerwear, take a few minutes to complete the easy task of simply weeding out what you hate.

Poof! You are halfway done purging. Now make one more sweep of what’s left and get rid of any item that you DID love but has stains, tears, snags, pilling, or the dreaded white shirt underarm yellows. Unless you want to take time to drag it to the drycleaners or repair it, let it go (caveat: please do not donate stained/torn/gross items, just don’t…).

That should leave you with items that you DO plan on wearing next year. Make sure they are washed or dry cleaned and box them up or move them to one section of your closet.

Now, as you rotate in your fall things, repeat the process:  remember how much you hated fiddling with that big, chunky open-front sweater last year?  Let it go.  Didn’t wear that blouse at all last fall?  Into the bag.

You can organize your closet any way that makes sense to you. I have mine color coordinated. All black/blue/red/green shirts together, pants together, dresses together, outerwear together. There is no hard and fast rule, except that it needs to make sense to YOU and make it easy for you to find what you need quickly.

I promise:  getting dressed with LESS choices in clothing is easier than with MORE. If you don’t believe me, think back on your last vacation…you had a few outfits to mix and match.  Yeahhh, it was easier, wasn’t it?  Because you had less.

Remember–I am here to help you if your closet has overflowed out into your bedroom! If you need to reclaim your space and your peace of mind, just give me a call or send me a message.

 

 

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home – Brought to you by Redfin

Please (ahem) take note of #1…sponsored by Redfin:

Getting Ready to Sell Your House?
Here are 11 Things Most People Forget to Do

You’ve started on your lists of small repairs, you’ve contacted a real estate agent, and now you’re in the final steps of getting ready to sell your house. But before you put your home up for sale, and certainly before having your first open house, here are 11 things to consider that most home sellers forget to think about and could cost you a sale.

1. Declutter and Organize Your Closets and Cabinets
Sure, you went through your entire house and reduced the clutter in each room, organized your desk and other surfaces, and arranged your collection of antique ceramic kitty figurines to be facing perpendicular to the window. However, did you tackle your closets and cabinets?

One thing you should definitely expect during an open house or individual home tours is that potential homebuyers will be looking in your closets, kitchen drawers and cabinets. Will your walk-in closet fit all of his shoes and her summer dresses? Is there enough storage space in your kitchen for their cookware, bakeware, and all the kitchen gadgets that they seem to collect each year? These are all questions homebuyers will be asking themselves as they walk through your home.

Of course, you as a home seller will have no idea what the needs are of a potential homebuyer, but you can definitely showcase what your house has to offer in terms of storage. Start by decluttering your closets, cabinets, and drawers, and then keeping only enough belongings in each to really show off the potential that space has to offer. Think of it as an extension of staging your home, but for your storage areas.

Feeling overwhelmed or don’t know where to begin? Consider hiring a professional organizer to help you with decluttering and organizing your house. You’ll want to make sure your home will shine at its best when it comes time for your first open house.

2. Clean Stains and Eliminate Odors
We should all consider small stains, marks, and other imperfections as badges of honor for a house that has been lived in for years. Nonetheless, these slight bumps and bruises your home has encountered over time will stick out to potential homebuyers, so tackle them head-on.

Begin by trying to put yourself in the shoes of a potential homebuyer and look at your house objectively. Start by going outside and then re-entering your house as if you didn’t actually own it but were an interested homebuyer looking at it for the first time. What do you see? Walk through every room and take note of all the imperfections you notice. You might surprise yourself with how quickly your list grows. You can then add them to your list of repairs so you can make your house truly be at its best before your first open house.

Also, if you have pets there is a strong possibility that your home has an odor which you can no longer smell. Deep cleaning your house is a sure fire way to help eliminate these odors, but also think about using an odor eliminating spray every day for about a week before your first open house. You can also place plugin room fresheners that offer a great crisp smell, like cucumber, to help infuse a sense of cleanliness throughout your house.

3. Replace Light Bulbs
Walk through each room in your house and look at every light bulb to see if it’s working. As homeowners, we sometimes forget to immediately replace a lightbulb when it goes out. You want your house to be at its brightest when new homebuyers are touring your home and replacing old burnt out light bulbs is one of the easiest ways to do it.

Also, don’t forget to walk around the outside of your house to make sure all the lights of your home’s exterior are working as well. Depending on the time of year, your open house or home tours could happen when the sun is going down or when it’s already dark. So be sure to make your house shine inside and out!

Pro tip: Make sure all your light bulbs are the same color temperature inside your house as well as outside. A soft-white light LED bulb can create a bright but welcoming environment for new homebuyers.

4. Think About the Small Details: Plants, Mirrors, Rugs
Consider each room’s individual characteristics, so you can really showcase the potential every room in your house can offer. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind while you start prepping every space for an exceptional open house experience.

Add a little green to your spaces
Nothing breathes life into a room more than a little greenery. A potted tree can work wonders in a living room, but for smaller areas think smaller plants such as a small potted herb garden in the kitchen or a miniature cactus on the mantel.

Open up even the smallest rooms
Mirrors can make small spaces seem large because they create the illusion of depth. Mirrors also work wonders in darker rooms as they reflect light deep into areas of a room that may not receive an abundance of natural light.

Add character to an otherwise unimpressive space
While staging your home, think about adding character to various spaces with rugs. However, keep in mind that you want to use rugs to enhance a space, not be the focal point of it. Also, if you have a strange space that you never really figured out a good use for, a rug could at least offer a little personality while leaving the space and its potential to the imaginations of homebuyers.

5. Enhance Your Outdoor Space
You’re probably already aware that enhancing your curb appeal is one of the most impactful things you can do to create a great first impression. However, you don’t want to forget about your other outdoor areas, such as your front porch or entrance, your back entrance, side yard, and backyard. You want to enhance your outdoor spaces around the house so potential buyers can see themselves living as much outside your house as inside.

Simple enhancements like placing potted plants to your front entrance or adding fresh beauty bark around the base of your hedges and trees can go a long way. If you don’t already have a designated outdoor space for entertaining, think about building a DIY fire pit and adding four Adirondack chairs to create the idea of outdoor fun. Ultimately, your outdoor space can be just as important of a space as what your home has to offer on the inside.

6. Get Professional (Aerial) Photography
By now your research has probably shown you that homes with professional photos sell for more and spend less time on the market on average. What you may not have considered is adding aerial photography to your listing photos.

Aerial photography can show off your entire property, a scenic view, and the surrounding area. If you have a lot of property, an aerial shot can easily put into perspective the full scope all your land has to offer to potential homebuyers.

Furthermore, aerial photography has come a long way thanks to the rapid development of drone technology, resulting in reasonable pricing that is accessible for many homeowners today. For higher-end listings, drones can even capture video of your property, helping it stand out among the hundreds of other homes for sale.

7. Don’t Forget About Your Gutters
Imagine that you’re having your first open house and despite the rain, foot traffic has been steadily increasing all morning. Your house looks immaculate, like one of those home’s off of an HGTV show, and your real estate agent has been messaging you updates every hour about how great it’s going. But then the unexpected happens. A small stream of water starts coming down right in front of your large bay window in the living room. The stream is outside the house, but your would-be buyers watch on as it grows into a miniature waterfall.

Red flags go up for the homebuyers touring your house as the foot traffic thins then disappears altogether. What they didn’t see was that the spillage was the result of a clogged gutter, nothing more, causing water to spill over in a very inopportune place and at the worst time.

Depending on where you live, you may not see as much rain in locations like Phoenix, AZ, but in many locations where rainfall is a common occurrence, such as Seattle, WA, this situation is more likely to happen. If you don’t have time to clean your gutters yourself—because you have a house to sell and a million other little things to do—there are professional services that can clean your gutters for you so this little oversight doesn’t drown out your hopes of selling your home quickly.

8. Paint Your Baseboards and Crown Molding
It’s pretty common knowledge that you should paint the interior of your home a neutral color to appeal to more buyers. Homebuyers want to imagine themselves and their stuff in your space, so your red accent wall will need to be painted over with a more neutral hue. But what a lot of home sellers forget to do is pay attention to their baseboards and crown molding.

Where crown molding may just need some cleaning and touch-ups, your baseboards most likely have seen a lot more traffic, especially if you have kids. It may be a toy truck that has repeatedly crashed into your white baseboards, crayons that went rogue, or the black rubber wheels from bikes racing down the hallway, most likely your baseboards have been marked with years of life experiences.

To correct these homely blemishes, you can try cleaning your baseboards with simple dish soap and water. But if it has been years of wear and abuse, you most likely will need to paint. Use a paint with a semi-gloss finish that will offer a light sheen but not glossy enough to distract attention away from your floors. You can also match your crown molding using the same paint, making every room pop to potential homebuyers. Of course, if you end up hiring painters to repaint that accent wall of yours, you might as well have them paint your baseboards while they’re there.

9. Focus on Your Floors
Your hardwood floors were once beautiful and one of the initial reasons you bought your home, but after years of traffic your hardwoods have since dulled to a shadow of their former glory. Likewise, your once plush carpet has also now matted down into obvious paths that lead from room to room.

One of the first things potential homebuyers look at when entering a new home is the floors, so make yours a statement.

If your carpet is approaching that 10-year mark, it is most likely looking pretty worn. Think about recarpeting your house to make it look fresh and ready for new homeowners. Such as you did with your walls, you’ll want to go more neutral in color to appeal to the majority of homebuyers. If your carpet is only a few years old, however, getting it professionally cleaned can go a long way in bringing your carpet back to life.

If you have hardwood floors bring them back to their former glory by refinishing them. Refinishing hardwood floors typically includes sanding down the floors to eliminate the original finish and stain, then restaining with the desired color followed by a coat or two of sealer. Your floors will look brand new and really stand out during the open house.
10. Gather Your Documents
You might not be aware of this but you’ll want to gather all the documents you have in regards to warranties, manuals, service records, and repairs done to your house. These documents are hugely important for several reasons and certain ones are needed by different parties before you sell your house.

Your agent is your best friend during the home selling process. They are also your homes’ first line of marketing and the more information they have about your house, the better they can promote it. They will write out the specific details of your home as well as an enticing description that will highlight key features that homebuyers want. So, if you’ve made recent updates like a new deck, new roof, updated HVAC, or if your home has hot water on demand make sure your agent knows it and you have the paperwork to back it up.

During the home inspection process, home inspectors are going to go over your house with a fine-toothed comb. If your furnace or water heater hasn’t been serviced in years, they’ll let you know. Take a proactive approach by gathering all your service records so you’ll know ahead of time if something needs to be serviced before listing your home.

However, beyond the paperwork your agent and the home inspector would like to see, title companies require very specific documentation in order for you to even sell your home, including:

● Mortgage loan information, which will show any outstanding mortgage balance and pay-off balance (if there is any)
● Final purchase and sale agreement
● Deed
● Title report
● Property tax information, including most recent tax statement
● Homeowners insurance information
● Lease agreement, if you’re currently renting the property
● Any reports or documentation that relates to the property
○ Warranty paperwork, permits, service documentation, instruction manuals, dates of home improvement projects, and age of the roof, furnace, hot water heater, HVAC, and all the other major appliances.

11. Pre-Sale Home Inspection
The last thing most people don’t think about before they sell their home is getting a pre-sale home inspection. Though it is not mandatory, a pre-sale home inspection is a proactive approach to understanding your home’s condition at that point in time, and if there are any repairs that need attention, you can address them now versus trying to do it during the home selling process.

Homebuyers will most likely get a home inspection of their own, right? So, why would you get one as a seller?

A home inspection report will most likely turn up a list of repairs that will need to be fixed. Would you prefer to fix these issues now before you list your home, or after you’re in negotiations with a potential buyer? If you wait, you may push back the sale date of your house as repairs are being made. Or, homebuyers may ask for concessions on your asking price in order to cover the repairs and the time it takes to make them. Ultimately, getting a pre-sale home inspection will leave you in a better position when it comes time to negotiate with potential buyers.

You may feel like spending a lot of time and money on your house is pointless because you’re just going to sell it anyway, right? Just consider that the more you appeal to the majority of homebuyers the more bids you’ll likely see and ultimately help you sell your house quicker and for more money.

Originally published on Redfin

Garage Talk

So, if you head over to my “Before & After” page, you’ll see some updated pictures!  That’s right, the planets aligned and I was able to organize today.  I was not expecting to work in the garage, I feel like all the garages I’ve done have been in July/August in the deepest part of Virginia heat–but I (and my quite pregnant client) survived four hours of dirty, sweaty decluttering/organizing.  And we only ran across one dead bird and two dead mice…!

How’s your garage?  If you’re like most of my neighbors, it’s packed to the rafters with stuff.

Time for a lecture:  in case you haven’t heard, garages are for CARS.  Mowers, lawn stuff, hammers, wrenches, bikes, rakes.  Stuff like that.

NOT stuff.

Here at OHO Headquarters, we are pretty freaky about keeping our garage for those purposes only, most importantly to house our cars.  Captain OHO and I are weird about our cars, though…and I grew up in a house where my parents just kept adding garage stalls on.  Yeah, by today’s standards, that is technically a two-bedroom, two-bath, FOUR car garage house.  Talk about priorities–Hi Dad!

I’m not criticizing, but really–in this swamp climate, if you have a bunch of stuff in your garage, cluttering it up, it is getting destroyed–if not by weather, by mice and bugs.  Even if you don’t give two figs about your vehicles, why not call me up and let’s get it cleared out!

Trust me, it feels good to have an orderly garage…even if we find a dead mouse or two along the way.  Don’t you worry, I’ll handle them!

 

Where’d You Go, OHO/PCS Prepper?

Dear Fans,

There are still over a thousand of you on my Facebook page and I’m still amazed that every few days, another message comes in with new “likes”.  That means that people are still finding me and finding my dusty old content useful!

I know that PCS is stressful and confusing and if you’ve never done it before, my “How to PCS” checklist from 2016 is still a pretty good checklist.  Some parts of a PCS never change.  Some do–and that is Reason #1 that I don’t want to post too much about PCS:  the fact that although some things don’t change, a lot of things do.

Military regulations change all the time and the last thing I want to do is pretend that I know what I’m talking about when I don’t (and frankly, don’t care–but more on that in a minute).  The last thing any spouse needs during PCS is faulty information.  I know y’all get plenty of that through various base/duty station Facebook sites, am I right?  I don’t want to contribute to the problem.

Reason #2 is that we haven’t PCS’ed now for almost four years and I am 98% sure that we won’t be PCSing again.  If my husband gets another job past the one he’s currently in, we are at the phase where geo-baching is the most realistic answer to everyone’s circumstances with kids in high/middle school, me working and the fact that we purchased a home and dammit, I’m just not doing it anymore.  I think 10+ times in 14 years is good enough!

This means that my overall interest in PCS is pretty much nil.  Does that mean I won’t help you out by answering organizing questions?  No.  I’m still happy to help a spouse out, so please hit me up.  I’m still interested in helping you declutter and get ready, but I have to work around Reason #3.

Reason #3 being my full-time job…I can really only organize on the weekends and that’s perfect for some people and not so perfect for others.  It’s tough for me–I try to squeeze people in when I can, but after a full week of work/kids/life, I don’t have a whole lot of time or energy left for organizing.  Please hit me up, though, because on occasion, if the planets are all aligning and I’m feeling the itch, I will still come out.  And I’m always 100% happy to give advice via Facebook or e-mail.

This last year has been a little tough, military-wise.  I don’t really want to go too deep into why, but there have been some major and (in my opinion) unwarranted disappointments with the organization in general.  I have gone from being a very gung-ho spouse to one that has decided to distance myself from events, clubs, Facebook pages, etc.   I am very proud of my husband and his service, but I refuse to give an iota more of myself.  Not. One. Iota.

But all of you out there still fighting the good fight and making the moves, go on with your bad selves and enjoy the ride while you can!  Just because my ride is nearly over doesn’t mean I don’t have a deep appreciation for all that we experienced.  It is WORTH IT!

Happy PCS Season!

Let’s Wrap Up, Shall We?

Hey Preppers/Orderly Home Organizer Fans,

I see you over there, “liking” my Facebook page and I want to apologize–even though I am a highly organized person, I am in the middle of my own move (self-chosen DITY) and haven’t had time to post on Facebook for quite some time.  I know that you are a bunch of smart, tough, strong women and that you’re managing well without me.

I left off somewhere around “using items on the DO NOT PACK list”.  Instead of doing a bunch of Facebook posts, I’m going to do one big blog post detailing the remainder of the steps on my PCS Checklist.

As I always say:  PCSes are like snowflakes–no two are exactly the same.  They share a lot of the same characteristics, but there’s always something a little different than the last one and certainly Jane’s PCS experience is vastly different than Jim’s than Karen’s…well, you get the picture, right?

Here we go:

  • It’s time to collect school records and let the school know that your kids won’t be back.  If possible, check in with the new school–you may be able to get all the paperwork ready to register them ASAP at the new location.
  • School physicals–I’ve never had an issue having the MTF at our current duty station sign off on school physicals for other states, so if you can get that school physical out of the way with a PCM that is familiar, do it.  It will save you time and energy on the other end.
  • Speaking of the MTF–you will need to let Tricare know that you are PCSing–but don’t call until after you’ve moved.  Change your location in DEERS after your PCS.
  • MTF–get medical records forwarded to next MTF or hand carry.
  • Dental and other specialty records–if you can get a copy, save yourself the trouble and expense of having to pay for things like new x-rays if they just did a set.
  • Hand carry all of these records–in the car or in your carry-on suitcase.
  • Last appointments–before you go, make one last appointment to get your hair done, your eyes checked, dental checks, ortho checks–anything that requires an appointment–try to get one in as close to the edge as possible.  It gives you a nice cushion of time to find a new salon, orthodontist, dentist, nail salon, etc. on the other end.  You’re going to be busy unpacking and getting oriented, you do not need to be frantically driving around in an unfamiliar city to get Junior’s braces adjusted.
  • Don’t forget to pick up your pet’s records and make sure their shots are up-to-date!
  • If you have been assigned a carrier, check in with them to make sure your dates are on the calendar.
  • Is your travel arranged?  Are you flying?  Driving?
  • Your carrier should send a rep out to go through your house prior to the move–please be sure to take time to show that person anything that might need special crating or treatment.  Be sure to get that person’s info–he/she is going to be your point of contact if the crap hits the fan on packout/load day(s).
  • Designate a “do not pack” room and put a tripwire on it hooked up to dynamite.  No, but seriously, a VERY LARGE sign on the door or better yet, a door you could maybe lock, would be great.  Into this room, place everything that you do not want the movers to pack.  I highly recommend setting aside valuables, your purse, hand-carry documents, etc. and locking them in your car or giving them to a trusted friend to keep aside during packout/load days.  Keep those items well out of reach of unscrupulous movers!
  • On PACKOUT/LOAD DAY:
    • Wear comfy shoes.
    • Send the kids to daycare, a sitter, camp, somewhere fun AWAY from the house.  The dogs/cats too.  The less distractions, the better and it’s just stressful for kids and animals.  It’s inhumane, man…they can’t have wine at the end of the day like you can!
    • Should you feed your movers?  Yes, but don’t break the bank.  Think outside the box and try not to get pizza.  Have a lot of water on hand and maybe a 12-pack of Coke, Dt. Coke and Sprite in the fridge.  If you plan ahead a little, you can usually put out a pretty nice little meal for cheap–sandwich tray and some chips, whatever.  THEY ARE TOUCHING YOUR STUFF.  Treat them well.
    • IF you have a dispute with one of the movers or all of the movers, DO NOT ARGUE WITH THEM.  Collect yourself and call your rep at the carrier or the PPO and tell them what’s going on.  Remember:  these people are TOUCHING YOUR STUFF.
    • Have eyes on the movers…be covert and nice about it, don’t hover and again, don’t argue.  If they’re not packing to your satisfaction, you have the right to ask them to stop, take a break and call the rep/PPO.
    • If you have items that are special to you and you feel they require special packing (not crated items), please set them aside and point them out to the movers–they have no idea what is valuable to you, but if you show them specifically (try to have them grouped together so they remember) and ask nicely, maybe they’ll take extra care to add wrapping paper to Great-Grandma Bertha’s china.  BE NICE.
    • Have a bathroom available to them and make sure it’s stocked.  Let them know.
    • Tipping/not tipping?  I’m in the not tipping category.  I’ve never tipped government movers.  I will feed them and give them things to drink all day.  The government is paying them.  I know it’s a hot topic, but I don’t tip.  If you’re feeling generous and they’ve been fantastic, then by all means, tip.
    • MOST IMPORTANT:  keep your sense of humor.  Something is going to go wrong…it’s just a given.  Take a deep breath.  You will get through this!
  • All of your stuff is on the truck/crated on the ship heading overseas…I have a Pinterest board for long-term hotel stays and how to survive them.  Check it out.
  • Unpacking–
    • Yay, you are there, all of your stuff is there and now what do you do?  This is my methodology:
      • Make beds first.  Even if the rest of the room is a disaster, you will all have somewhere to sleep.
      • TV/set up wireless.  I know, this shouldn’t be this high on the list, but let’s face it, you are in a new place and the kids need to stay out of your hair for awhile so you can get the house put together.
      • Kitchen/Dining–get back to cooking and eating together ASAP
      • Bathrooms
      • Clothing/closets
      • After that, it’s up to you!
      • Take breaks, get out of the house, check out your neighborhood, take a breather.  Your stuff is not going anywhere…Rome wasn’t built in a day.  If you’re not completely unpacked and organized right away, don’t beat yourself up.  It takes time and everyone is in a new place, going through the PCS Emotions…take it easy on yourself.
    • My last word of advice:  make your home YOURS…even if it’s a rental, even if you’re there for a short tour.  Hang up the pictures, plant a few flowers, make it a place you love, not merely tolerate.

And that, my friends, is the end of the list…did you remember to request your DLA?  I hope so.  I truly hope that you have a safe, peaceful and happy PCS.  I’ll be over at my new house (which is OURS, so I’m very excited to really pour my heart into it!) unpacking my boxes, getting organized and overseeing some home-improvement projects.

I’ll be back on Facebook soon.  Thank you, friends!

 

PCS Grief

Hey Friends,

It’s been quite awhile since I last posted and I humbly beg your forgiveness…the full-time job thing has been very eye-opening.  I think, no–I know–that I am gaining a newfound respect for those of you out there who do it all.  I’m also learning how central being organized is to keeping all the plates spinning at once (and how easily one plate can get knocked down by something unforeseen).

Enough about work, but it does affect life and how often I’m able to get over here to post.

Recently, I read a book that many of you have probably heard of:  Brene Brown’s Rising Strong.  The subtitle of the book interested me:

If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall.  This is a book about what it takes to get back up.  

The chapters deal with different painful pitfalls we all deal with at one time or another and how to “rumble” with the uncomfortable feelings and move past them.  The chapter that most struck a chord with me though was the chapter called “The Brave and the Brokenhearted”.  It’s about grief and the grieving process.

Most of us think about grief only in terms of losing someone.  Death.  Grief is about more than death, though.  We can feel grief and go through the stages of grief for any loss that affects our life–even the loss of something we can’t quite define.

In Rising Strong, Brene Brown categorizes grief in this way:

  • Loss
  • Longing
  • Feeling Lost

As I read her descriptions of loss, longing and feeling lost, I had a lightbulb moment.  Maybe you’ve all realized that what we experience after a PCS is grief, but I have never thought of it in that way, and I was taken aback.  As a spouse, I feel like we aren’t allowed time or space to grieve–we are expected to pack our house out, move across the country or around the world, adapt to a new environment and do it all with an “I’ve got this!” smile on our face.  One day our life is in Stuttgart, Germany and the next day, it’s in Norfolk, Virginia.  And we don’t miss a step.  Very possibly, there is no time to grieve between finding a new house, signing the kids up for school, moving in, finding Starbucks and a new salon and a new job and the perfect park.

When is there time to properly process grief in the middle of all that?

Here a few quotes from this chapter of Rising Strong that made me think of military spouses and grief.

On loss: “Grief seems to create losses within us that reach beyond our awareness–we feel as if we’re missing something that was invisible and unknown to us while we had it, but is now painfully gone”.

On longing:  “Longing…is an involuntary yearning for wholeness, for understanding, for meaning, for the opportunity to regain or even simply touch what we’ve lost.  Longing is…an important part of grief, yet many of us feel we need to keep our longings to ourselves for fear we will be misunderstood…or lacking in fortitude and resilience”.

Feeling lost:  “Grief requires us to reorient ourselves to every part of our physical, emotional, and social worlds”.

Wow.  Maybe that didn’t quite capture your attention as it did mine…but I was left nodding.  That is exactly what moving feels like:  losing something that was unknown to us while we had it (it doesn’t matter whether you love or loathe that duty station–I promise you’ll still grieve “normal” life).  Cue the longing:  it’s where you lived when you were first married, you had a child/children there, you bought a house there, it was your “favorite” duty station–whatever transpired, life is encapsulated between a set of dates on a certain point on the globe.  Feeling lost:  literally, feeling lost–having to adjust to a new home, new neighborhood, new schools, new culture, new time zone, everything NEW.

Grief can crop up at the oddest of times, when you least expect it.  Just this week, I was missing Japan.  There are times when I’m homesick for Germany or wish I could be in Newport, Rhode Island on a sunny summer afternoon.  I miss homes that we’ve made, friends that we’ve made, everyday life in various places.

Everyone’s lives change…it doesn’t matter if you never move or move every two years, but I think that as military spouses, PCS carries a special kind of grief and that we need to be open to the truth that it really IS grief and that it needs to be processed and not ignored.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I’m Breaking Up With Facebook

Hi Friends,

Last Friday, I decided to break up with Facebook.  For good this time.  Trust me, there have been many, many instances of me almost pushing that “deactivate account” button before.  Most of the time, I was making that almost decision in the heat of the moment, feeling stung, hurt, indignant, left out or not good enough.

This time, though, I feel as though I had a valid reason to leave Facebook behind.  And just to be clear–I suspended my account, I didn’t deactivate it, so it’s still there, whenever I feel like I could have enough self-control to log in for just a few minutes and check in with everyone.

The decision to let go of Facebook this time occurred because I just decided to take on a full-time job.  Yes, FULL…as in, 40 hours (plus) per week.  I haven’t worked a full-time job for almost 15 years, since before I met my husband and jumped onboard the rollercoaster of military life.

Once I (gulp) made the decision to accept the job offer, my mind immediately went into full-on organizer/planner mode.  I made 14 freezer suppers.  I printed an elaborate calendar detailing what we’d be having for supper every evening.  I designed a list of chores per child that were just right for having all their homework done, dinner started and the table set by the time I walk through the door.

Of course, I know there are going to be days when that schedule just gets shot to heck…but so far, it’s working.

Anyway, in terms of my own personal time, I knew I had to let go of some clutter.  I started by cleaning out my closet and getting a ThredUP bag (OK, two) of discarded clothes ready to go, then switching over to fall things.  As I used to do, I put together several work outfits and put them at the front of my closet rod along with necessary accessories–so easy to grab one in the morning and not stand around in a towel, wondering what to wear!

I bought a bunch of freezer meals and healthy snacks to stash in my desk at work.  I cleaned the house so I could start from fresh and scheduled areas to concentrate on in my precious free hour at the beginning of the day.

And I broke up with Facebook.  For years, Facebook has been sucking my time and energy.  There were moments on Facebook that were glorious and reconnecting with friends from the past (and staying connected with friends/family around the world) is great.  I just spent SO. MUCH. TIME. looking.  Scrolling.

I need to be more present in the time I have with my family in the evenings.  I need to focus on learning the ropes at work right now.  And I need to dump some clutter–Facebook might not seem like clutter, but it is.

I would like to say I’ll come back and start sharing posts for Orderly Home Organizer at some point, but I’m not sure what the future holds.  It’s one day at a time right now, baby!

I’ll still write here for now and share articles from time to time, so keep visiting me.

Oh, and I am still organizing, boots on ground–it will just have to be weekends, so if you are in the greater DC area and need some organizing help (and see, even the organizer needed a little organizing help!), give me a shout!

Rachel